Monte Lucas felt right at home driving his restored Oliver 550 tractor in the Delphi FFA Tractor Drive this summer. Lucas retired from farming near Kirklin, Ind., about 12 years ago and now lives in Frankfort. But he still has his restored Oliver 550, which connects him to agriculture and brings back memories of farming.
Lucas was once active in the Indiana Young Farmers Association. Older than many of the other young farmer-leaders he served with, he reached retirement age sooner. Even though he sold most of his equipment he retired, he held on to the Oliver 550, and says he enjoys driving it in local tractor drives when he gets the chance.
According to tractordata.com, the Oliver 550 first appeared in 1958, replacing the Oliver Super 55. Records compiled by the website indicate that the tractor was made until 1975. List price for this utility tractor in 1975 was $4,400. It was rated at 35.3 drawbar hp and 41.4 PTO hp. The tractor featured differential mechanical dry brakes and power-assist steering. No factory cab was ever offered for this model.
The tractor was made in Charles City, Iowa. According to serial numbers, just under 20,000 Model 550 tractors were produced over the course of its production cycle. It was available with either a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gas or diesel engine. Lucas’ Oliver 550 features a gas engine, with a gas tank holding just under 14 gallons of fuel.
The Oliver 550’s low profile made it ideal for utility jobs, especially if going in and out of older barns or sheds with low ceilings.